Prabhakar Iyer, Hyd- Don’t worry. You have done your part. Someone will do the rest. Nothing is permanent, even in temples.
Prabhakar Iyer, Hyderabad
Don’t worry about it. You have done your part. Someone else will do the rest. Nothing is permanent, even in temples.
I met Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, for the first time in Cochin along with my brother-in-law, in 1980. My brother–in-law was a staunch devotee and trustee at the time I met Sri Swamiji. During this initial meeting He informed me, “I go to Vijayawada very often. Since you are in Hyderabad, whenever you feel like it, you can come and visit.” That was the first conversation I had with Him. After that I went back to Hyderabad, worked in my business and forgot about it. Again I went back to Cochin with my brother-in-law and Sri Swamiji said, “You didn’t come to Vijayawada.” I said, “No, Swamiji, It slipped out of my mind.” Then He said, “Come there and meet Me.”
Even from that early time, for me, Sri Swamiji was God only. I thought “Definitely I have to meet Him.” During one Navaratri, I happened to go on business to Vijayawada with a Muslim friend. I asked to take me to the Vijayawada Ashram. I said, “Do you have any problem seeing a religious Swami?” He replied, “No, I’ll take you.” So we went together. It was evening time and Sri Swamiji was singing bhajans. I thought then, ‘Going near to Him on some recommendation and going and forgetting about everything is not right’. So I prostrated then and there, and said, “You wanted me to come; I have come. You are busy; you are engaged, please pardon me.” Then I left and I went back to Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, in 1982, while they were planning the construction of the Hyderabad Ashram, a Trustee whom I knew, asked me to come there. He told me that Sri Swamiji was also coming. I became some kind of a member in that group with about six of us handling the construction. I also help with cooking, singing bhajans, and whatever there was to be done. Before the construction finished, the trustees asked one other person and me to go to Madras and bring the Datta murti.
At that time, my daughter was not well. She was vomiting continuously and my wife said that blood was coming also with her vomiting. I frantically ran and brought a bottle of liquid, thinking it was some kind of medicine. After pouring some into her, I realize that it was kerosene. She vomited about ten times more, and then she fell asleep. However, she never cried. I gave her this about midnight and so I was afraid that something might happen to her still. The next morning when she awoke she looked fresh and alert. I went to the Ashram and I prostrated before Sri Swamiji, who told me, “You did not come to me, but you made me come to you.”
In my business, heavy loss was incurred even though Sri Swamiji had visited the business place. He said, “Such a big show you have put on.” Losses kept on being incurred and the state finance people said they would have to auction the property. My partner told me to resign and he would carry on the business. I resigned and gave it to my partner. Mr. Narayan Rao and other trustees were working on the construction of the Ashram. He asked me, “How can you bear this loss?” I said, “Something will have to happen. We cannot stop what is to happen.” Then I fully concentrated and helped with the construction.
I did a little trading business and every Sunday I used to cook something, like kitchoree, and share as prasadam to everyone. Then when Sri Swamiji came and the three temples were completed, suddenly I asked Him, “Can I build a Navagraha Mantapam also?” He replied, “Yes, you can do, but why are you asking like that?” I replied, “Everyone, including my mother says that if someone comes there and does pradakshina it helps with their problems.” Sri Swamiji said, “No, no, no, it is not like that. You are giving them opportunity to do puja and after visiting the three temples, they will do puja and pradakshina there. You are creating an opportunity for them to do puja.”
When everything was completed, Sri Swamiji came for Kumbha Abhishekam and somehow some of the murtis were placed in the wrong positions. Instead of Rahu and Ketu, some other murtis were placed in their positions. Some people from the Ashram, who had taken maximum interest in the works, were getting so many problems in their lives. Whoever was in charge of doing that that got many problems in their life.
Meanwhile, I had to find some means to provide for my family and I told Sri Swamiji, “One of my friends is giving me some help, can I accept?” He said, “Yes! I have instructed that the Navagraha murtis should be smashed and reconstructed. Don’t worry about it. You have done your part. Someone else will do the rest. Nothing is permanent, even in temples.”
I asked Him to touch my application to work with some other company. I don’t know what I said in my interview, but the employer, the Managing Director, was very impressed and said that I could start in a higher position right away without my certificates. He told my friend who had told me about the job that I had unique experience and I could start in a higher position. I went to Mysore after getting the results of the interview and with my official letter I again went for Sri Swamiji to touch it.
I was scheduled to work in Vijayawada after one month’s training. At that time there was a cyclone and some of the trains traveling to Vijayawada were either filled or cancelled, so I went by bus. On the way, the area was also flooded which made it impassable. Seeing my predicament, I was deputized to a nearby branch and I reported there. There were lots of people seeking help and the owner became elated. He said, “I don’t believe in God, but if someone is poor and struggling I will help him; I will give him one thousand rupees. I said, “Please give me the Annadanam responsibility.”
A lot of people came; even beggars would come, we would feed them and the owner was satisfied. From then he showed mercy to me. Meanwhile I was doing cooking seva in the Hyderabad Ashram for Ugadi, the Telugu New Year’s day. I was feeling very happy doing the cooking seva. That day, Sri Swamiji told me, “I have got a place for you. Will you go?” I spontaneously answered, “Yes, Swamiji!” He said that He would call me after one hour and He did so, telling me, “Hereafter you will be with Me only.” I replied, “Whatever you want I am there to help you only.”
He said, “There is a Subramaniam Temple in Nadupalani and you know the language. They need a manager. Will you go?” I answered, “You give me Shakti and wherever you want me to go I will go.” He said, “Collect the address from Vhamsy.” Again after half an hour, Vhamsy told me that Sri Swamiji will take me to Nadupalani so I should go to Bangalore. Some other Swami had constructed that Temple and he was in a coma in the hospital. He asked Swamiji to take over the temple management.
I saw it myself when Sri Swamiji chanted a mantra or something into his ear, He awoke and sat up. Then Sri Swamiji told Him, “You wanted a manager; he has many years’ experience anmd he has come to you.” He said, “Okay.” Then Swamiji said, “Touch his feet.” I prostrated, touched his feet and said, “Datta.” Because my Guru is Datta, I believe that wherever I prostrate before a holy person or God, I must say, “Datta.” Even when waking up I say, “Datta.”
Then He took me to Nadupalani and on the way He kept reminding me, “The situation is going to be very tough, because you are new here. There is no one to support you. You are the only person who is going to look after things.” They were about twenty-five acres of land and everything was like a jungle. I went back to get my son, daughter and wife to take them with me. I informed my employer that I wanted to resign as I have something else to do. He asked, “What other thing?” Sri Swamiji had told me that it was not going to be easy to leave my job and join Him. The employer did not want me to leave. I told him, “Even I don’t leave you, I wouldn’t be able to stay with you. Whatever He says it will surely happen. I have some problems so Sri Swamiji has asked me to go there.”
On that day I left and join the new place. These devotees here were poor people and they always doubted me about money matters. They took some stories to their Swami who was in the hospital and he said, “I’ll be coming there after two months, so you can leave.” Then I told him, “Sri Swamiji told me not to leave this place, no matter what happens, so I am not going to leave. I cannot leave now.” He said, “Whatever Sri Swamiji told you, you must do.”
Sri Swamiji was not in India, so a message went to Him He gave a reply. Prasadi called me and told me to come to Mysore one day before Swamiji arrives as He wants me to return immediately. I informed everyone, “I am leaving because Sri Swamiji told me to do so. If anything happens to my family, it would be very dangerous.” In Mysore, Sri Swamiji told me, “Oh you have come, be here for a few days, I will talk to you.” The trustees also met with me. Actually Subramaniam Swami is my Ishta Devata. I worship him. Sri Swamiji called the trustees and me and said, “He’ll be in Archarapakam for a few months. You know where you have to go. You can go.”
In Acharapakam, behind the Temple there is a big hill and every morning devotees would come to do bhajans and perform one pradakshina which would take about seven hours. One day I made rice prasadam, but that day not too many people came and one big potful was still left. I took it in front of Sri Swamiji’s photo and offered some with a spoon in a plate. The evening from about 7.00 till 11.30 pm, I kept waking-up for about five times and I noticed that the prasadam was still there. But at five o’clock the following morning, the prasadam was completely gone. Nobody came, but the prasadam was finished. Sri Swamiji said that Adi Devata Datta was there. Anybody can come, but devotees should not try to see His face. This place was Sahyadri Parvata.
On December 31st, 1999, Vhamsy called and told me that I should come to Mysore. Sri Swamiji had gone on tour and He’ll return in two months so you will have duties in the Datta Temple.” I started assisting in the Datta Temple with the priest, Rama Shastry. Whatever I could do, I did. Then when Sri Swamiji returned He said, “Go to the Accounts department, a lot of work is waiting there for you.”
Sometime later, I was informed that the Vijayawada Ashrama was not in a good shape and they needed a manager there. The problem was that they never liked Brahmins. Sri Swamiji told me, “If you go there to manage you will also face some trouble there, but it will not as bad as Nadupalani.” In January 2001, Sri Swamiji called me and said that I should go by car and He would be coming by plane. When He got there, He called everyone and said, “He’s my man. I’m keeping him here as the Manager. Whatever he says you people must do. If there are any problems, let me know about them.” However, instead of them complaining, I was the one who phoned Prasadi and said that these people were worse than those in Nadupalani. They don’t understand Appaji’s language.
In Vijayawada, my first job was to educate the people. Sri Swamiji told me, “If you act as a bad man, I don’t care. You can be separate, but they should not split. How you manage, it’s up to you.” In conversation, I told them that Sri Swamiji wanted only one thing; that they should cooperate with me, the manager, and they should not do what they liked. They sent a taped message to Sri Swamiji and they wanted proof of Sri Swamiji’s response. When the answers came they all agreed to cooperate.
At the end of three months, all kinds of functions were taking place. I introduced some good projects; Homa and different pujas; the people of Vijayawada accepted me as having some worth; I was doing things. I was the manager there for eight years. After that I had developed kidney and blood-pressure problems, neuropathy and diabetes.
During my stay there, under my supervision, Marakata Raja Rajeshwari Temple was constructed and consecrated. The Kalyana Mantapam was renovated, and the priest’s quarters were constructed. I lost my mind, shouted at everyone to get the work done; also my wife was not there. Then Sri Swamiji said, “It would be better if you take some rest.” So on June 16th 2009, I left Vijayawada. My son was in Hyderabad, and he asked Sri Swamiji for him to look after me. Sri Swamiji said, “He’s my son.” Sri Swamiji had told me that He knows what time to call me, so until then I should take leave and rest.
Spiritually, when I was an Executive Member in Vijayawada, people were complaining about how they had to pay for pujas. The next day Sri Swamiji came in my dream, in sadhu’s dress and said, “Bhavati Bhiksham Dehi.” My wife called and said, ‘Somebody has come. See who it is.” Then she called out that Sri Swamiji had come. In the dream I got up and did my puja. Then I saw Sri Swamiji and I prostrated to Him. He put His hand on my shoulder and said, “Come, I’ll tell you.” What He was chanting I don’t remember, but He told me that whether I have money or not, He would come to me, and I must remember this.” He was showing me that others pay and wait for the pada puja, but I did not have to pay, He would come to me when necessary. “Without any payment, I’ll come to you. Remember this!” Jaya Guru Datta.
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